Monday, August 13, 2018

Past tense


She was,
She used to be,

I still startle

There will no longer be
Any new memories.

I look up
When the skies cry
When there is not a cloud in sight

I talk about her in the past tense now.

Eye on my arm
God squeezes my heart,

I remember the feel
Of toying with her
Sagging skin
’Til mine ages,
I will beam at my ink.

I talk about her in the past tense now.

On nights I cry,
On fine nights
I burst with life,

She cradles my heart.


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Passion

Ironic, I know, I mumbled awkwardly after explaining to my date that whilst words command my life; there is categorically nothing in this world that makes my heart pound as much as techno does. For those unfamiliar with this genre, I will want to quote a few of the most hypnotic DJs and producers in the industry. “Techno is a group of like-minded people communing through a love of uncompromising dance music” –Jeff Derringer. "Techno is the music of now, enjoy the moment” –Ben Klock. “Machine Funk” –Ben Sims; or as the prodigal Rødhad simply puts it, techno is “rhythm”. The beat. That bass. The unending roads of a set.  The reason it is hard to define this genre of electronic music is because it often "warrants snarls and cues defensive answers from traditionalists" (Frankie Francisco, “What does Techno Actually Mean to DJs and Producers?); DJs and fans alike have truly become a bunch of elitist, scrupulous advocates. Friendly, but unapologetic. This is techno – and do not dare call that crap techno.

I will go on for hours – writing or dancing to techno music. Writing, earphones stumping. Then, my date looked at me, lightly biting his lower lip, hesitant; as if he feared my reaction to what he was about to say next: Actually, a passion for both is not contradictory at all. I was definitely intrigued. As a matter of fact, it makes perfect sense. You write; and with this music, you are not overshadowed or overpowered by anything else. It leaves all that space for your own thoughts, own concepts, own observations; which, well, you put into words. Your own. There is something quite spellbinding, liberating really, when a complete stranger gives such insight on your soul. We hardly hit it off except for that tiny window where in a snap, he managed to reverse all existing layers that, I believed, defined me. There is no paradox. He was right. 

I returned last Sunday from another magnificent, hair-raising, spine-tingling, heart-stirring techno marathon in Germany. Love Family Park, one of the most beloved festivals, made its comeback after a year break. It moved to a new location; the unsparing atmosphere, though, remained unblemished. I have been in the scene for nearly half of my life, having set foot in the darkest of little clubs to being gobbled up by thousands in the most renown venues around the globe;  after all these years, still going the distance to dance specifically to one’s set. Richie Hawtin is, and always will be, my favorite example. As the magic of Love Family Park 2018 slowly finds its niche in my routine, I can only rave (see what I did there?) about how my love of techno still – perpetually unleashes my best self.

Various factors impact a crowning experience. First and foremost, the music. The beat. That bass. When the set is sublime, and boy do we know: the longer the set, the better it can become, culminating to a higher level. Higher. Higher. Hands high up in the air, to oblivion. There are no words (see what I did there? PART II). Secondly, the crowd. In my experience, techno disciples are by far the coolest people I have ever met. Sure, we are ‘conservative’ in regards to our definition of techno; however, this open-heartedness –– effortless, unfeigned, welcoming –– unites us. Come as you are. Moreover, Love Family Park was proof that our scene now summons generations of fans, from loyalists who count a number of Love Parades under their belt to rookies who only recently started to add parties to their portfolio. There is no age for techno and for these few steady hours spent on the same premises, we become one facing this DJ who sets the tracks in our hearts. It takes two to tango; but here, you get to dance with the whole wide world. I have claimed since my beginnings that one of the things I venerate is that the scene, like the music, grants this intrinsic, powerful yet hushed connection – not only to your own core, but to your peers as well. It is not background music; we are here to fucking dance. Alone, together. Together, on our own.

It is my spirit that moves. Almost possessed, I let it all in. I let it all go. A rave is a journey. It screams freedom. And truth be told, it has to be madness. Techno means being utterly present in the moment – and this commitment to throbbing, dark ‘rhythm’ for hours on end is to bring exactly who you are, right there, at that exact point in time, to light. A constant in my life, yet it also justifies my evolution. I am my most passionate self when I dance: fluid, seriously ecstatic, at one with the world, at one with myself.

He was right. The unending roads of techno do not dispute my other true love in life at all. I write like I breathe. If anything, then, the music compliments my writing. I noticed, especially during these past months, that the more I know, the faster I may write. But the less I do, the better I write. Much better. Not to say that nothing else, in particular literature or any other music genre with lyrics for that matter, do not influence or inspire my writing at all; of course they do, they have to. Nevertheless, techno’s somewhat no vocals policy does take one on a mysterious adventure; as does a blank page. I am completely free –– and being a colossal instrument to how I live my life – rather, how I like to live my life – techno truly encourages me to find my voice as a writer. Being my own person.

Often, I pause mid-sentence, look up and review my surroundings as I let the end of my idea brew in my head. A young mother feeding her newborn, a group of girlfriends toasting with champagne, a handsome man immersed in his book, the trees dancing, the chatter of passerby. I reach for my coffee and attempt to remove the messy work of art of lipstick and stains with my thumb. With no exception, to no avail. Mark my words like the imprints I leave on my cup.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

On the porch


My grand-mother was no longer keen on traveling during her last years. Even an outing to the nearest city which, God’s honest truth, happens to be an actual and phenomenal vacation spot in the Philippines; howbeit that reality, asking her to come with us oftentimes became too much to ask. We would still encourage her of course — if only to take a few deep breaths of fresh air or indulge our cravings at one of those fancy spots. On most occasions she enjoyed our 'permanent staycation’ as much as we did, other times she would already set a countdown timer as soon as we arrived. Sometimes both.

If she did not necessarily looked forward to traveling ‘more’ roads like in her younger years, it did not cut ice with us. It certainly did not cut ice with me. I came home. We live in a world and time when traveling is practically considered a commodity. Actually, I am on a train, on a bus or on a plane more often than not. Being on the go managed to sneak in my DNA early on  –- I value it immensely, and above all, it is a life choice I am devoted to. After a short while, the itch becomes unbearable. I am a stubborn child again : do not scratch –– but then I always, always do.  Often, I have to go on a side trip to the next town, even just for half a day, only to quench my thirst. That being said, the more I loved embarking on new adventures, the more it spiked my appreciation for the slow pace of the day one can only find in the country. 

In my country. In my province. At home with my grand-mother. 

In no way am I undermining life in the province; but coming from constant traffic, noise, appointments, incoming emails –– even just the hassle of reserving a table at a restaurant, as one does, during the rest of the year; each time the car turned that street corner and I could finally get a glimpse of my grand-mother's porch, it was legitimately soothing to be subjected to less choices –– to almost none –– ruling the day. There was not much to do than just be –– and those days filled me with more life than anything in the world. To feel the seconds. To be completely free to reassess. To suspend time in order to saunter and be engulfed in the present moment. No distractions but ourselves. I am a writer. I find small moments in big city life –– but at homeI learned to have big moments in small city life; enjoying coffee, the sun skating on my skin. 

We ‘scold’ doing absolutely nothing nowadays because it would count as a day lost. We became greedy. Long have I been a victim of this reasoning; yet the older I get, the less I see it or feel that way. To add my grain of salt to Henry David Thoreau’s famous quote, finding meaning in such an ordinary day is truly the highest of arts. I had plenty of those with my grand-mother, especially during her last years when she preferred to stay at home. Right there on the porch, we did affect the quality of the day: I brought stories to her. And I would listen to hers. We would meet in the middle. For love in the ordinary is extraordinary -- the highest of arts.

In my country. In my province. At home without my grand-mother. 

I already wonder how it will be like to come back now. She loved me from the moment I opened my eyes, and I will love her long after she has closed hers. In my dreams, I am sitting on that porch again. I know she is listening.